Instagram isn’t just a way for people to share vacation photos or prove their dog is the cutest in the world — it’s also a powerful business tool.
There are a whopping 1 billion monthly users on Instagram, including 500 million+ who are active on a daily basis. Those users are hungry for beautiful photos, which makes it an ideal platform for a highly visual business like home remodeling or home building.
With regular posting and a little know-how, you can begin to build your Instagram presence to introduce your business to potential customers in a positive way. You don’t need a research study to know that people buy from businesses they like and trust.
We understand that most contractors and builders already have a packed schedule, so we’ll show you how to effectively use Instagram for just a few minutes per day to generate local noise for your business, drive brand awareness and create advocates for your brand.
Try these eight essential tips to help you get the most out of Instagram.
1. Set Up and Link Your Business Accounts. When setting up an account, be sure to use an account name that people can easily find and remember. You’ll also want to choose the appropriate business category and write a short bio that clearly explains what you do.
In your profile settings, you’ll want to select “Switch to Business Account.” Next, link your account to your business’s Facebook page so you can easily share posts across platforms. You can access the “Linked Accounts” page in your account settings.
2. Post a Variety of Relevant Content. Photos allow you to tell many different stories. In our business, stories of transformation are best told with before and after photos, while stories of inspiration are best with photos of beautiful, finished projects. You can even educate customers by posting examples of typical damage that’s only uncovered once work begins and how you fixed it.
3. Use Instagram Stories. A Story is a feature on the Instagram app that allows you to showcase photos and video, along with text and emojis, in a slideshow format. They are prominently featured to followers, but disappear after 24 hours. Stories are separate from your Feed, which always displays content. Try this for a good Instagram Story: Show a before picture, several short videos on in-progress work, and follow it up with the reveal – the beautiful, finished home.
4. Use Hashtags. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the # symbol. Hashtags make it easy for others to discover your content. Using a hashtag in your photo caption automatically includes your photo in a feed of other posts that use the same hashtag. For example, #HomeImprovement is made up of nearly two million posts from new homeowners, contractors, designers and more.
When deciding which hashtags to use, make sure to think local, like using the town you’re working in as a hashtag.
You can also use the hashtag #MyHardieHome to highlight your beautiful James Hardie projects. Using this hashtag will ensure your work is included in a destination for consumers looking for inspiration and potentially even help with their home. Plus, your photos could end up being featured on jameshardie.com!
5. Post Regularly. There’s no magic number, but you should attempt to at least twice per week to keep your audience engaged. Always aim for quality over quantity, and try to be as consistent as possible about how often you post content.
6. Engage with Others. Respond to comments, follow other local business accounts, and search for relevant conversations to participate in. This shows potential customers that you’re accessible and allows you to get your brand out there in a natural way.
7. Ask Customers to Post Testimonials. Most Instagram users won’t miss the opportunity to share a photo of their beautiful home, so ask your customers to tag your Instagram account in their photos. You can even ask if they’d be willing to write a brief testimonial as a photo caption. This is a great way to get in front of a new, local audience.
8. Consider Video. People scroll quickly through Instagram images, so adding a short video is a great way to grab their attention. Videos posted on your Feed can run anywhere from 3 to 60 seconds, and Story videos are limited to 15 seconds each. Videos should tell a story, so think about what you want to tell your audience before you post.
Since you probably carry your smartphone with you everywhere, why not make it a part of your regular, low-cost marketing strategy? Start today and show us your best work or your most impressive transformations featuring James Hardie® products by using #MyHardieHome in your photo captions.
If you need some guidance on taking better before and after photos, check out this helpful guide.